Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Priests’ Category

photo-jjoconnor-21

News comes today from the Religion News Service that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose oversight of Priests for Life’s finances was welcomed by Father Pavone several months ago, has turned sour, leading Cardinal Dolan to express the same exasperation as several of Father Pavone’s previous bishops. From RNS:

NEW YORK (RNS) In the latest clash between the Catholic hierarchy and one of the church’s leading anti-abortion crusaders, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan accused the Rev. Frank Pavone of continuing to stonewall on financial reforms, and Dolan said he is cutting ties with his group, Priests for Life.

In a Nov. 20 letter to other U.S. bishops, Dolan said he did not know if the Vatican would now step in to take action against the New York-based priest, who for years has angered various bishops by rejecting oversight of the organization by church authorities and for refusing to sort out his group’s troubled finances.

“My requests of Father Pavone were clear and simple: one, that Priests for Life undergo a forensic audit; two, that a new, independent board be established to provide oversight and accountability,” Dolan wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Catholic World News.

cardinal1

“Although Father Pavone initially assured me of his support, he did not cooperate. Frequent requests that he do so went unheeded. I finally asked him to comply by October 1st. He did not,” Dolan wrote.

Dolan, who had been asked by the Vatican to help Pavone restructure Priests for Life, said in the letter that he has informed Rome that “I am unable to fulfill their mandate, and want nothing further to do with the organization.”

The cardinal said he had “no idea” what the Vatican intends to do now.

In a statement emailed to Religion News Service on Monday (Dec. 15), the Staten Island-based Priests for Life rebuffed Dolan’s criticisms, contending that the group has had “clean” audits for 15 years and saying the dispute is, in fact, “about control.”

That last statement from PFL is regrettable, and one that I fear may signal a return to the smear campaign deployed against Bishop Zurek by several of Father Pavone’s supporters a few years ago. Is it really all about control? So far the bishop’s complaints have never progressed beyond the issue of accounting and accountability, so the charge about control really comes off as a smokescreen tactic to many faithful Catholics who are every bit as pro-life as the staff at PFL.

CardinalDolan

In the last go-round on this issue, several supporters of Father Pavone mercilessly smeared Bishop Zurek as wanting to ruin Father Pavone, to wreck his ministry, of being a pawn of Satan. As many are not Catholic, it was easy to chalk much of that invective up to ignorance of the very nature of a bishop and his sacred office, of the respect and obedience due him from every Catholic, but especially from priests who register sacred vows of respect and obedience at their ordinations. What was appalling was the silence from PFL in the face of this merciless pillorying of Bishop Zurek.

At the time, Bishop Zurek indicated the nature of the problem, as retold by RNS:

In 2011, Zurek denounced Pavone’s “incorrigible defiance of my legitimate authority as his bishop” and suspended his ministry. It then emerged that Priests for Life had been badly mismanaged, running an unsustainable $1.4 million deficit and failing to make key tax filings or allow proper financial oversight and safeguards.

Pavone moved back to New York, saying he had the Vatican’s support and that he would not be cowed by any bishop. Then earlier this year, he and Zurek said they reached a settlement in their standoff and the problems seemed on their way to a resolution.

But that apparently wasn’t the case, and Pavone’s fate now seems to rest with Rome.

Bishop_Tx

So what will it be now? Will the narrative be that Cardinal Dolan really isn’t all that pro-life? That gay-loving prelate who welcomed a gay contingent into the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York! On a few occasions when I have thought Cardinal Dolan erred badly, I wrote about it. But I didn’t smear him. I didn’t impugn his motives. I didn’t encourage a rebellion against him. I encouraged him to look to the examples of his predecessors in office. And all of that raises what is really at issue here.

What does it mean to be a faithful son of the Church?

At its core it means fidelity to the Magisterium and to one’s bishop. This fidelity is required of laity as well as clerics and finds its scriptural roots in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11-13

Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you,and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

In this chapter, PFL needs to strike a new tone. They need to put the “Priest” back in Priests for Life. How Catholic or priestly is it to set one’s supporters against a string of bishops? That new tone begins with respect and obedience towards one’s bishop. If the accounting is all in order, then we should get to that point. It would then become abundantly clear if “control” is at issue. That said, Bishop Zurek’s assertion three years ago bears mention again.

As Father Pavone’s Bishop, Patrick Zurek bears moral responsibility for the stewardship of PFL’s finances if there is mismanagement by one of his priests of the $10 Million annual budget, and Bishop Zurek will answer to God for whether or not he exercised his sacred office with prudence and diligence.

bishop-zurek-of-amarillo-texas

What is certain from the published record is that there has been a fractious relationship between Father Pavone and several of his bishops through the years. Equally objective are the horrendous characterizations of these bishops by many of Father Pavone’s supporters. Also equally certain is the fact that no amount of anti-abortion crusading and success can justify these grotesque allegations against the bishops. Even if Bishop Zurek were a bishop who ranked pro-life ministry at the bottom of his list of priorities, this much is also certain:

Every priest serves at the pleasure of his bishop, and his bishop owes him no explanation for changing that priest’s assignment.

Who knows what other news might be in the wings? Regardless, this time around, PFL needs to change tack and get off the smear campaign. It’s a losing strategy with faithful Catholics who ask the simple question:

What would Padre Pio do?

Read Full Post »

Day 9

“To love the good God with our whole heart is to prefer Him to everything…to love nothing that is incompatible with the love or God. To love the good God with our whole mind is to think of Him often, and to make it our principle study to know Him well…To love the good God with all our strength. is to employ our possessions, our health, and our talents, in serving Him and glorifying Him. It is to refer all our actions to Him, as our last end..”- St. Jean Vianney

O Holy Priest of Ars, your precious remains are contained in a magnificent reliquary, the donation from the priests of France. But this earthly glory is only a very pale image of the unspeakable glory which you are enjoying with God. During the time you were on earth, you used to repeat in your dejected hours, ‘one will rest in the other life.” It is done, you are in eternal peace, and eternal happiness.

I desire to follow you one day. Until then, I hear you saying to me:
“You should work and fight as long as you are in the world.”

Teach me then to work for the salvation of my soul, to spread the good news and good example and to do good towards those around me in order that I will receive the happiness of the Elect with you.

O most holy Saint John Vianney, you were a priest who was outstanding in pastoral zeal. May priests today be filled with that zeal, faithful to their calling, refreshed in their labors by the Holy Spirit, supported by their fellow workers and appreciated by those whose lives they touch. Dear Curé of Ars, pray for us, but especially for all priests!

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for grace to accept the Apostolic governance that our Lord established for his Church, that I might empty myself of all my fears and apprehensions of what this estrangement of priest and bishop might entail for the cause of life, and to be filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit, which surpasses all understanding. Through your intercession, may we all draw closer to our bishops and our priests, those who make this cause a priority, and those whose focus is on other, equally essential, causes for the People of God.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Read Full Post »

{Click to enlarge}

I’ve said pretty much all that needs to be said in four posts and a Novena to Saint John Vianney. There isn’t very much more to say except this:

The Church is not a democracy.

Some years ago I read a commentary by the brilliant Dr. Janet Smith about how the media reports on the Catholic Church. Essentially, Dr Smith observes, the media try to apply the template of the majority party in power (conservative Popes) and the minority opposition (liberal theologians). It doesn’t work with the media, because they fail to grasp the ecclesiastical realities of the Church. Again, it’s not a democracy.

There really is no such thing as liberal and conservative. There is orthodoxy and fidelity vs. heterodox rebellion. They aren’t competing goods.

Many of Father Pavone’s more vocal supporters are non-Catholics who see him in terms of a fellow warrior in the cause for life, and there is a great deal to be said for having been foxhole buddies who have come through major battles together. It is truly a band of brothers in the pro-life movement, and I understand and applaud their fidelity to Father Pavone. However…

If they (and the very vocal Catholics protesting against Bishop Zurek) truly understood what a bishop is and what a priest is, they wouldn’t have taken the course of action that they have. This terse clarification from Bishop Zurek translates: I’m the one who wears the Mitre, and I’ll decide what is best for one of my priests (That’s what was meant by, “At my discretion and solicitude, he has faculties for ministry in the Diocese of Amarillo.”).

It’s time to back off. Flying banners of butchered babies, trucks with similar grisly images circling the Cathedral school, are pretty thuggish tactics from Father’s supporters, as are some of the letters people sent me in hopes of my signature. I have signed no letters. I have made no phone calls to the bishop. I have instead been hosting a novena. I have also written to Father Pavone to convey my support of him, and my prayers that God’s perfect will be done.

The thought that the pro-life movement simply cannot survive without Father Pavone is reflective of a serious spiritual cramp. I love all that Father Pavone has done, but one day he and I and this entire generation will be dead and interceding from Heaven. It will fall to today’s young to assume the mantle of leadership.

The one whom we cannot survive without is the Holy Spirit.

To remove all doubt:

A priest has no priesthood of his own to exercise at will. He is merely an extension of his bishop, who being an Apostolic Successor, has the fullness of priesthood. Having a share in the Apostles’ company, bishops are free to act as they see fit regarding governance of their priests, so long as that governance is in accord with the moral and juridical norms of the Church. This bishop has underscored that he has restricted Father Pavone’s activities in order to provide a space for reflection.

I’ve been urging that all simply give these two men the time and space to work this out. Our getting into a power struggle with Bishop Zurek will only reinforce his belief that Father needs some time away in order to reorient his priestly bearing. The thuggishness and wild accusations against Bishop Zurek have backfired, badly I’m afraid.

Consider the wisdom of Rabon Gamaliel in Acts 5:

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

It’s time that those making war on the bishops ask themselves if they are not fighting against God Himself by fighting His will being expressed through His Apostle’s Successors. They are redefining ugly.

I’m praying for God’s perfect will in all of this, and I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to make that will known with crystal clarity. Again, if we can’t hear the Holy Spirit, perhaps we need to be still. Street activism has failed in this case. Perhaps now we should try faith.

H/T Deacon Greg Kandra<

Read Full Post »

Day 8

“Three things are wanted to preserve purity – the presence of God, prayer and the Sacraments.”- St. Jean Vianney

O Holy Priest of Ars, a witness of your life made this magnificent praise of you:
‘We would have taken him for an angel in a mortal body.”

You so edified others: the modesty and the exquisite purity radiated from your body. With such charm and with such enthusiasm you preached to others about these beautiful virtues which you said resembled the perfume of a vineyard in bloom.

Please I beg you to join your entreaties to those of Mary Immaculate and Saint Philomena in order that I guard always, as God asks me, the purity of my heart. You, who have directed so many souls towards the heights of virtue, defend me in temptations and obtain for me the strength to conquer them.

O most holy Saint John Vianney, you were a priest who was outstanding in pastoral zeal. May priests today be filled with that zeal, faithful to their calling, refreshed in their labors by the Holy Spirit, supported by their fellow workers and appreciated by those whose lives they touch. Dear Curé of Ars, pray for us, but especially for all priests!

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray during this novena that Father Pavone and Bishop Zurek may join their hearts to our Lord’s Sacred Heart, that bound up in His Holy Priesthood they might come to know and do His will; that the laity in the pro-life movement be ever mindful of the authority and sacred trust Jesus placed in His bishops, that they be trusting of His promise to send His Holy Spirit who will lead them to all truth.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Read Full Post »

Day 6

“In Heaven, faith and hope will exist no more for the mist which obscures our reason will be dispelled…But love; oh we shall be inebriated with it! we shall be drowned, lost in that ocen of divine love, annihilated in that immense charity of the Heart of Jesus! so that charity is a foretaste of Heaven.”- St. Jean Vianney

Saint John Marie Baptist Vianney because of your love of God you showed great charity towards your neighbor. You could not preach on the Love of God without burning tears of love. During your last years, it seemed as though you could not talk about any thing else or live for anything else. Thus you sacrificed yourself to your neighbor by consoling, absolving and sanctifying them to the limits of your strength.

Your charity inspires me to greater love of God, a love which is shown more by acts then by words. Help me to love my neighbor generously as Christ loves them.

O most holy Saint John Vianney, you were a priest who was outstanding in pastoral zeal. May priests today be filled with that zeal, faithful to their calling, refreshed in their labors by the Holy Spirit, supported by their fellow workers and appreciated by those whose lives they touch. Dear Curé of Ars, pray for us, but especially for all priests!

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray that both bishop and priest may come together imbued with the spirit of your charity in their regard for one another, that within this honest space you may send your Holy Spirit to light their hearts afire with a spirit of mutual submission to whatever your holy will is for them.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Read Full Post »

Day 5

When we have just received communion, if we were asked what are we taking away to our homes, we might answer, “I am taking away Heaven!” – St. Jean Vianney

O Holy Priest of Ars, whose only comfort in this world was the real presence of Jesus in the tabernacle, was it not your great joy to distribute the Eucharist to the pilgrims who visited you? You refused Communion to the souls who refused to reform but to souls of goodwill you opened wide the doors of the Eucharistic Feast.

You, who each day at Holy Mass received Holy Communion with great love, give me some of your fervor. With freedom from mortal sin, obtain for me a sincere desire to profit from receiving Holy Communion.

O most holy Saint John Vianney, you were a priest who was outstanding in pastoral zeal. May priests today be filled with that zeal, faithful to their calling, refreshed in their labors by the Holy Spirit, supported by their fellow workers and appreciated by those whose lives they touch. Dear Curé of Ars, pray for us, but especially for all priests!

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray during this novena that Eucharistic zeal may possess both bishop and priest in Amarillo and lift them up to a shared vision for Your Holy Will in this dispute.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Read Full Post »

Day 4

It is a beautiful thought, my children, that we have a sacrament that heals the wounds of our souls! – St. Jean Vianney

O Holy Priest of Ars, you knew how important was a good confession for the Christian life. It was to procure the happy fruits of millions of souls that you agreed to be in an uncomfortable confessional, which was like a prison, up to 15 to 16 hours on certain days.

I will try to develop the habit of frequent confession, to prepare properly each time and to have always regret for my sins, so that the grace of final perseverance but also the sanctification of my soul will be assured. Ask this grace for me.

O most holy Saint John Vianney, you were a priest who was outstanding in pastoral zeal. May priests today be filled with that zeal, faithful to their calling, refreshed in their labors by the Holy Spirit, supported by their fellow workers and appreciated by those whose lives they touch. Dear Curé of Ars, pray for us, but especially for all priests!

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray during this novena for the refreshment of Father Pavone’s soul during this time of trial.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 776 other followers